Our Opinion

Published 6:31 am Wednesday, August 15, 2007

By Staff
Zoning for county among biggest needs
The frustration some Atmore area residents are feeling this month after a chemical company announced it would be building a plant in the Freemanville area illustrates one of the county's biggest needs: zoning ordinances.
Some county residents are opposed to the idea because they fear zoning could limit their own freedom. But consider what Freemanville residents are facing: C&S Chemicals has made a decision to build a plant near their residential area. Despite suggestions from economic development officials to locate elsewhere, the company chose another piece of land with access to rail.
C&S has broken no laws and violated no rules in its quest to build a plant. The company could very well be a good corporate citizen. But residents who are opposed to construction of the plant - and, as with any chemical plant, they have reason to be concerned - they have no recourse to try to stop C&S from building.
As Escambia County Commission Chairman David Stokes said, county leaders don't want to put limits on residents - they want to help protect them.
We are glad to hear that county officials are consulting with neighboring Baldwin County on its zoning practices. We encourage them to continue to pursue the issue.
Studying the issue, getting public input and eventually crafting a plan that is put to a vote of the people is the best way to achieve the right balance between zoning ordinances and property owners' freedoms.
If we don't continue to pursue zoning opportunities, we could all be in the same position as Freemanville residents one day.

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